At the highest and simplest level I have got so far. “I am soul, here to have experiences.”.
I often ask people:
Are you your body?
Are you your emotions?
Are you your mind or thoughts?
Who are you?
Let me start off with the body. I was watching the Biggest Loser the other night and the Dr was showing each of the people their Dexa scan. This was colour coded to show different densities in the body. Bone being the most dense was white, then muscle shown as blue, and fats were shown as green, yellow and red. Looking at the Dexa scan, I could clearly see what the person would look like from their bone and muscle. This would be what their natural lean shape would be.
As one of the women on the show said, “How many women around Australia would say – I’m fat.”.
Any “I’m…” or “I am…” statement is an identity statement. Meaning that that is what we identify with, this is how we see ourself in the world and how we believe the world see’s us. In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) our Identity is our sense of who we are. Our sense of identity organises our beliefs, capabilities and behaviours into a single system. In other words, how we act and show up in the world. Our sense of who we are is not who we actually are.
Another participant on the show made the comment “I feel like I am trapped inside a case of fat”. And that was how she saw herself and was living her life.
Further on in the show, the doctor had one of the participants stand up and handed him weights equal to the weight in fat he was carrying. The doctor was making the point that the participants are not fat, they are carrying fat. He was changing the way they viewed themselves and changing a part of their identity. These points illustrate that the person and the fat can be thought of separately. And if they are separate, the fat can be let go.
If you think about it for a minute, another way of looking at it is that we are carrying around fat, like a heavy, really heavy jacket for some. I guess many would wish it was as easy as simply taking a jacket off. From working with people, it is a lot harder to lose weight, when the person identifies with being fat. It’s like not wanting to take off that familiar jacket they are wearing..
The simple reality is that if we do not eat, our body will use up fat, then it will also start to use up muscle to create the energy to keep us alive. Does that change who we really are? It will change how we look, but not who we really are. So we are not ‘fat’, we are not muscle, we are not our body. We have a body but are not our body.
Just like we have cars to help get us from one place to another, our body is a vehicle that we have. I am going to suggest, our soul, has to function in this world to have experiences. And just like a car, we need to look after our body for it to function well. You have probably heard of this before, when we put good fuel, the right fuel in our car it runs well. We don’t put diesel or water in a petrol tank and expect our car to run.
Next, are our emotions. Feelings or emotions continually change. Some people will say “I am sad”, “I am depressed”, “I am happy”. These are again identity statements. One thing I know about emotions is that they pass. People experience different emotions during the day, even hourly. So we are simply not our emotions either. We have emotions.
The next fun one is our mind and thoughts. Like emotions, we continually have thoughts. Experts will say we have around 60,000 thoughts a day, and most of them we had yesterday. The question here is; “Where did our thoughts come from?” A simple answer is that they mostly come from those around us- our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, TV, radio, music and so on.
Babies are little sponges, soaking up everything around them. We, as babies and children pick up our values, our attitudes and our beliefs. We have this wonderful thing called Ego that gets created. And one of the things Ego does is work really hard to preserve its identity. That identity has been created by the experiences and interactions with those around us. So are we really our mind or our thoughts? As someone once said, “The mind makes a great slave but a poor master”
So what is left? I am going to suggest and I believe that it is more useful to view ourselves and others as a being, a soul or spirit that has the vehicle of a body, emotions and mind. That mind, body and emotions are certainly interconnected. Yet there is a part of us that is a higher self, a higher intelligence that is capable of running the show.
Now this may be a leap for you, a wake up or an ah-ha moment. It may be a reminder or you maybe already thinking this way. When we begin to look at ourselves and others like this, it can give us a sense of being more in control. It can help us start to see others differently and recognise that the real person inside, is actually not what they identify with. Remember earlier I mentioned that our identity is a sense of who we are and not actually who we are.
One of the sayings I give my clients to contemplate when having challenges or conflicts with another is this:
“The person is not their behaviour. You can always love the person but you do not have to accept their behaviour.”
When we start to see ourselves differently, a few things happen. We loosen the tight grip on who we think we are, our Ego or Identity, and this can allow us to accept change, letting go of what we have taken on board from others and perhaps start or continue the journey of finding out who were really are and what we are capable of.
In viewing others differently, we can actually give them room and permission to change as well. This can have a profound impact on our relationships and the people around us.
So in summary, I believe it is more useful to view our self and others as soul here to have experiences.
- That we have a mind, body and emotions through which we experience life.
- That there is a higher part of us that can take control of our mind, body and emotions.
- That when we see that people are not their behaviour, we can always love the person but do not have to accept their behaviours.
- That when we see ourself and others differently it creates room for change.
Here’s to more happy, loving, and fulfilling relationships. Until next time.
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